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Imagining the World, anew Session 4 and Session 5
Vol. 1 | Issue 3 | May 2020
Thoughts, or something like it
Things and Links
Imagining the World, Anew session information
Thoughts, or something like it
It's surprising that the newsletter has become more frequent. This is only because there is another Imagining the World, anew session planned for next week (alongside the one tonight), so everyone deserves a little notice.
These past few months, I've been obsessed and sceptical about the idea that you can contract Covid from surfaces, mainly because only two studies (as far as I've found), were conducted (by mimicking the virus in a laboratory).
These studies (mostly the media only cites one) have caused absolute panic (and proved that copper is an amazing material). An article in the Washington Post discusses the change in CDC's advice to reflect that spreading between surfaces and animals was 'low' and then changed it again: "It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads."
Just because a virus can live on a surface for several days does not mean it automatically causes an infection. If it did, wouldn't there be a lot more infections? We are constantly learning about this disease, but the most common form of transmission has been person to person in enclosed environments or at close distance. I think about the amount of times I am confined to small spaces with many people daily: on trains, buses, in classrooms, at packed restaurants (where London real estate means anything becomes a table for two). Since lockdown over 10 weeks ago, I have not had any sniffles, or felt at all sick, despite this being more common previously. This is largely due to not being in packed spaces constantly.
The attention on 'clever' ways to create bubbles and a 'no touch' economy is insane. It should not have taken a pandemic for people and businesses to begin practicing good hygiene and start cleaning places properly (if even!). Shared utensils, for e.g. at a buffet, providing access to sinks and soaps where people can wash their hands or sanitiser, respecting distance, and requiring people to wear masks when in enclosed spaces is what we should focus on, not getting rid of paper menus or enclosing people in bubbles made of acetate.
This attention on trivial matters makes me think of how we lack focus on the important things, sort of like sustainability – individual acts of consumerism will save the world argument. Masks are not 100 per cent effective – rarely anything is – and some governments are reluctant to ask people to wear them. However, it feels like a much more reasonable way, alongside social distancing (with an agreed number is it 1m, 1,5m or 2m?) to carry on in the meantime, not dividers!
Let's be honest, governments around the world are not prepared nor designed for this. How do you explain some governments claiming that construction sites and non-essential clothing shops are more important than the dentist? Decisions, we are told, are made by experts. Epidemiologist's are experts in public health, and we rely on them to help us survive a pandemic, but they are not experts in the technical workings of a university for example. So why are we not bringing people together to inform each other rather than make recommendations on matters they are not at all aware of?
I am still looking for researchers to participate in my research into referencing management software (as in Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, Paperpile...). With this research, I would like to investigate, from a design perspective, the ways researchers use referencing management software – how the software’s usability and interface impact the engagement of the user and how they hinder and/or help one’s workflow and process. ***If you're interested in finding out more, reply to this newsletter****
Great article in LRB about how easy it is to lose everything overnight
Enjoyed reading this interview with Lila Abu-Lughod discussing teaching gender in the Middle East on Jadaliyya (please someone redesign that website)
Demolition Man: that movie featuring Wesley Snipes with bleached hair set 12 years from now, feels, despite some super dated interfaces, relevant to the post-Covid 'no touch' society. Even more interesting, the salutation of the new society is be well. What do you know?
Imagining the world, anew
Session 4 (Tonight at 20:00)
Dr Samer Abdelnour (Lecturer at UCL's Institute for Global Prosperity) will discuss possibilities for transitioning to a world without war.
When: Wednesday 27 May at 20:00 (London time) Where: https://meet.jit.si/worldanew (To join by phone: +1.512.402.2718 • PIN: 2847941328#)
Session 5 (Wed 3 June at 20:00)
Dr Peter Hall (Course Leader of BA Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins) will give a short presentation called Repair & Share With the confinement and limited access to shops of the 2020 lockdown, people have been sharing (recipes, resources, services, content) and repairing in ways that recall alternatives to commodity-based exchange. If the “sharing economy” is a misnomer, might design education learn from the idea of the gift economy (Mauss), general economy (Bataille) and the growing interest in repair?
When: Wednesday 3 June at 20:00 (London time) Where: https://meet.jit.si/worldanew (To join by phone: +1.512.402.2718 • PIN: 2847941328#)
Each session will feature the presentation of short idea or proposition by a speaker followed by a moderated discussion.
**If you would like to present an idea (whatever stage it's at), reply to this newsletter****
Anyone is welcome to join the call, as a participant or an observer. We ask that everyone include a name and introduce themselves to the group.
This folder contains all maps produced from sessions so far
About Imagining the World, Anew
We are scrambling to find 20th century solutions to 21st century problems. It seems the only ‘innovation’ we have lately is gimmicks (not value creation), and we’ve lost sense of what innovation means. Key decision makers are rarely diverse, and to come up with radical ideas, innovations, and embrace different ideas in decision making, we need diversity of opinions and perspectives from multiple disciplines. This requires us to move away from specialisation.
The goal is not to replicate old patterns – we are facing wicked problems, and wicked problems are ill defined and have innumerable causes. If we continue to rely upon experience from a single domain, we end up with limited and at times disastrous solutions. The purpose of these proposed sessions is to draw sets of people with different experiences and backgrounds to think of new possibilities to wicked problems. We need, as James Flynn says, habits of mind to dance across disciplines. Now more than ever, we need to bring this breadth of experience from academics, intellectuals, cultural producers together to discuss new possibilities and imagine the world anew.